Battery Fitness

Cardboard cutouts of Chevy Volt battery modules.

With all of the projects on the CitiCar, one of the most important ones is to upgrade the batteries to Lithium. I found some Lithium Ion Chevy Volt batteries. I took the measurements, made some cardboard cutouts, and tried to plan out where the batteries could sit. I just barely could not fit two on each side. I was hoping that maybe the measurements were off.

I took delivery of two lithium batteries a couple weeks ago. Each module was configured to deliver 48 volts at 50 amp hours, for a capacity of 2 kWh. I spent some time placing the battery modules in different positions in the CitiCars’ battery tray to determine if I could fit more than two batteries under the seats for more range and less demand on each battery.

Chevy Volt battery module on lip at edge of CitiCar battery tray

It wasn’t exactly perfect, but I saw a way to make them fit. I went ahead and ordered two more batteries. I could almost fit a fifth one, but it was simply too tight for my comfort, and I could use the space for other things such as a motor controller, DC-to-DC converter, and possibly the charge controller as well.

Dremel cutting edge of battery module

Tonight I started out trying to cut the bottom flange of the batteries where the batteries coolant had passed through. I watched a few videos on people tearing down the batteries to get an idea where I could cut without coming close to the Li-Ion cells. I got out my rotary tool and went to town.

It quickly turned into a challenge. The layers to cut through are composed of plastic, rubber gaskets, coolant plates, and coolant still remaining within. The smell was pretty awful as well.

Cutting battery module with a hack saw

The rotary tool was having a tough time and was getting too hot to handle. I started using some metal shears and a wrench to chip away a little and strong arm it a bit. I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. In the end, I used a hacksaw.

Battery module on its side with side of coolant tunnel cut off

The hacksaw was quick and clean. Rather than having black rubber melted on everything, I could see the profile of the rubber gaskets and cooling plates against the plastic and air pockets.

It took a bit longer to finish off the bottom cut since it was thicker, and cut into an unused brass threading. I believe it was originally used to both keep the batteries together, and keep the water intake bolted onto the battery. Looking back at the

Chevy Volt battery with bottom right coolant tunnel cut off

Other News

In other news, my 10mm Hex/Allen wrench came in today. It was too big to insert into the axles fill plug. Going down, 9mm is a non standard size. I purchased a set that contained contained a wide range of sizes in both metric and SAE with balls on the end of the arms. The SAE set includes 3/8″ and 5/16″, to which I hope one will fit. It’s also got a set of star wrenches, but I’ve rarely had a use for them in the past.

Some nuts for the battery terminals should arrive tomorrow, allowing me to drive the car again.

I ordered some magazines with articles about CitiCar/Comuta-Car:

  • Consumer Reports October 1976
  • Hemmings Classic Car September 2018
  • Car and Driver March 1994
  • New York Magazine May 21, 1979
  • Popular Mechanics July 1974
  • Golf Car Options Magazine January 2018


Making a battery fit into a CitiCar
Fitting lithium batteries into the CitiCar


These are the products I’ve purchased that are mentioned.

NEW Lithium Ion Chevy Volt 48vdc 2kwh 50ah battery Golf Cart Off Grid Solar EV
Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit with LED Light- 5 Attachments & 40 Accessories- Engraver, Sander, and Polisher- Perfect for Grinding, Cutting, Wood Carving, Sanding, and Engraving
Stanley Hacksaw 24 Tpi 12 “
Columbian By Wilton Aviation Snip Set 3pc. 30676 Straight, Right, Left
Consumer Reports October 1976
Hemmings Classic Car September 2018
Car and Driver March 1994
New York May 21, 1979
Golf Car Options Magazine – January 2018
Popular Mechanics July 1974
REXBETI Hex Key Allen Wrench Set, SAE Metric Star Long Arm Ball End Hex Key Set Tools, Industrial Grade Allen Wrench Set, S2 Steel


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